In his first version of the Statutes of the Congrégation de la Jeunesse Chrétienne, written in 1813, Eugene defined its main purpose in the city of Aix:
To form a body of very pious young people in the city,
who by their example, their advice and their prayer
will make a contribution to curbing the license and general apostasy which every day makes frightening increases
while at the same time working effectively to achieve their own sanctification.
“Règlements et Statuts de la Congrégation de la Jeunesse chrétienne établie a Aix par l’Abbé de Mazenod au commencement de l’année 1813. Premier Règlement,” in Missions 145 (1899), p. 19.
They were to become a united and living cell which would influence their companions in the city who did not have a clear set of beliefs in their lives and were living in a state of godlessness. Clearly the members of the Youth Congregation had to be in relationship with God themselves and have a sense of direction in their own lives, before they could share this with others.
The main means they were to use to influence their peers were threefold:
- a lifestyle that would be attractive and meaningful to others,
- availability to listen to their peers and to share advice and assistance,
- and a life lived in relationship with God.
“If youth is the season of hope, it is often so only in the sense that our elders are hopeful about us.” (Anonymous)